It’s late October and John Williamson of Shaftsbury, Vt. will soon be boiling in the sugarhouse. But not maple—sorghum.
“It wouldn’t feel like fall if we weren’t making sorghum,” he said.
A longtime sugarmaker of the maple syrup variety, Williamson has been making sorghum every autumn for the past 21 years. [ MORE ]
Bob Hausslein took a good idea, started running with it and hasn’t stopped yet. About 15 years ago, while roasting a pig, he stumbled across the idea of making smoked maple syrup, which as fate would have it, turned his entire life and business around.
“Chefs down in the big city were exploring new flavor combinations as part of the then current ‘molecular gastronomy.’ One of them asked me to run with this riff of smoke and sugar we had found, and the category was born,” Hausslein said. “We are originators of Smoked Maple Syrup, and have been producing and selling it since 2005 at least. We don’t have a patent on the process, which is basically to expose the syrup to real wood smoke in some form. I sure have turned a lot of folks on to the idea, though.” [ MORE ]
It’s been a long-time coming for Mike Benton and Benton’s Sugar Shack.
After five generations of sugaring in the Lakes Region town of Thornton, N.H. the Benton family took their first Carlisle Cup last year, awarded for the best maple syrup in the state, at the New Hampshire Maple Producers Association annual meeting. [ MORE ]
Sleep can be a precious commodity for Greg Pittman.
“Sometimes I’ll wake up at two in the morning with the solution to something I need to fix,” Pittman said. He keeps a pad and pen next to the bed.
He’s a tinkerer and has a gift for understanding out how things work just by looking at them. He’s a machine whisperer, so to speak. Same goes for his son and son-in-law, both tinkerers too. Wife Debbie keeps the whole operation humming and organized. [ MORE ]
Have you ever been to a 3-ring circus?
In each ring, something different is going on, and you are not quite sure where to look for fear of missing something special.
The day that I visited Wendel’s Maple & More in East Concord, NY, that is sort of how I felt; like a child at a 3-ring circus. In each corner of the farm there was another facet of the Wendel’s business. My entrepreneurial heart was brimming with questions that I couldn’t wait to ask. [ MORE ]
Just a few years ago, the Hering family of Waterville, Minn. was notable in the industry for being one of the biggest operations in the U.S. still using buckets. The Hering family has been cooking in Waterville since the late 1800s. Everything is different now. Beginning about three years ago, the Herings began a rapid expansion and upgrade to their operation, most notably dumping the buckets for good. [ MORE ]
The sap was running at Charlie Chase’s farm on Feb. 28. And so was Charlie.
A professed people person, he has not been shy to go in any direction within 20 miles of his farm to just about every residence with a maple tree and ask to tap it.
“I go around and knock on doors and offer them half a pint to tap their maples,” he said. “If I get a quart per tap, I come out way ahead.”
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